Graduate Qualification in the Study of Ancient and Premodern Cultures and Societies

Graduate Coordinators

Eckart Frahm (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations)

Irene Peirano Garrison (Classics)

Steering Committee Oswald Chinchilla (Anthropology), John J. Collins (Divinity), Maria Doerfler (Religious Studies), Steven Fraade (Religious Studies; Judaic Studies), Eckart Frahm (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Milette Gaifman (Classics; History of Art), Felicity Harley-McGowan (Divinity), Michael Hunter (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Andrew Johnston (Classics), Jacqueline Jung (History of Art), Edward Kamens (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Noel Lenski (Classics; History), Yii-Jan Lin (Divinity), J.G. Manning (Classics; History), Susan Matheson (Yale University Art Gallery), Laura Nasrallah (Divinity), Irene Peirano Garrison (Classics), Kevin van Bladel (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations)

Graduate Qualification in the Study of Ancient and Premodern Cultures and Societies

Archaia: Yale Program for the Study of Ancient and Premodern Cultures and Societies aims to bring together faculty and students sharing an interest in antiquity and the premodern. It supplements the curriculum with seminars, conferences, and special lectures by scholars from Yale as well as visiting scholars, and offers a graduate qualification. Students with an interest in Archaia should apply to one of the University’s degree-granting departments, and should meet the entrance standards of the admitting department. Departments and schools currently participating in Archaia are Anthropology, Classics, East Asian Languages and Literatures, History, History of Art, Judaic Studies, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Religious Studies, and the Divinity School; students from other relevant units should contact the Archaia graduate coordinators.

The qualification program provides enhanced training to graduate students with wide-ranging interests in the ancient and premodern world to extend their studies beyond departmental lines. Program students are expected to fulfill the requirements of the home department, but their course of study is individually modified to allow for interdisciplinary work through classes, examinations, and guidance by faculty in several departments.

Graduate students who are enrolled in and funded by participating departments will earn a qualification upon satisfactory completion of the requirements. Students should apply to the department that coincides best with their backgrounds and their prospective areas of specialization, and they should indicate an interest in the interdepartmental program at the time of their application to that department. Students in participating Ph.D. programs earn the qualification en route to the doctorate. The qualification in Archaia is open to Yale Ph.D. students and to students at the Divinity School.

A program of study for completion of the qualification must include the Core Seminar—or, in special cases, an approved alternative seminar—introducing students to issues in the study of the premodern world. In addition, a minimum of three other courses plus a capstone project is required, the courses to be selected in consultation from offerings of advanced language study and seminars related to the premodern world at the graduate level. The course of study must be approved by a graduate coordinator of Archaia and by the director of graduate studies (DGS) of the student’s home department, who together with the student will lay out a blueprint for completing the requirements, articulating a field of concentration and a direction for the capstone project, and identifying potential mentors.

Requirements for the Qualification

  1. A team-taught Core Seminar—or, in special cases, an approved alternative seminar—introducing students to issues in the study of antiquity and the premodern world, from a cross- and multidisciplinary perspective. Initiative students normally take the Core Seminar in the first year of study. Offered each year in the spring, the seminar is normally a team-taught class sponsored by two or more of the cooperating departments. There will be supplementary sessions in the Yale collections (e.g., the Yale Art Gallery or the Beinecke) and a required monthly colloquium component. Specific topics vary, but each seminar has significant interdisciplinary and comparative dimensions emphasizing the methodologies and techniques of the fields involved.
  2. A minimum of three courses, of which at least two must be seminar or seminar-type courses, chosen in consultation with the DGS of the student’s home department from courses offered across the University. These will in most cases be courses that also fill requirements for the student’s home department, and must be at a level that would normally be accepted for graduate study in that department.
  3. A capstone project that demonstrates the student’s capacity to pursue independent, interdisciplinary research (the equivalent of 1 or 2 course units, depending on the scope), to be approved in consultation with the Archaia coordinators and the DGS of the student’s home department (e.g., an exhibition, documentary, research paper, conservation project).
  4. Regular participation in events hosted by Archaia throughout the academic year, especially the monthly meetings of the Ancient Societies Workshop.

Students who fulfill these requirements will receive a letter from the Archaia coordinators, indicating that they have completed the work for the qualification.

Core Seminars

NELC 668b / CLSS 829b / HIST 507b / LING 668b, Historical Sociolinguistics of the Ancient WorldKevin van Bladel

Social history and linguistic history can illuminate each other. This seminar confers the methods and models needed to write new and meaningful social history on the basis of linguistic phenomena known through traditional philology. Students learn to diagnose general historical social conditions on the basis of linguistic phenomena occurring in ancient texts. Prerequisite: working knowledge of at least one ancient language.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

RLST 619b / CLSS 872b / HIST 513b / MDVL 513b / NELC 683b, Law and History, Law in History: Premodern Civilizations through the Lens of Legal HistoriographyMaria Doerfler and Travis Zadeh

This seminar invites students into a comparative exploration of the intersection of law, history, and historiography in the ancient and premodern world. Sessions explore these links across a variety of linguistic and geographic settings, including those of ancient and medieval India, China, Persia, Greece, and Rome, as well as in different political, religious, literary, and archaeological contexts. The seminar constructs the category of law expansively to encompass civic, religious, and hybrid forms of legislation. In the process, we seek to explore, inter alia, questions of the relevance of history for the study of law, history’s deployment in the context of legal writings, and law’s concomitant relevance for historiography; the use of theoretical models, including those forged in modern and postmodern contexts, for the study of law and legal historiography; and the implications of discourses about law and history in premodernity for contemporary, post-secular societies.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm